Jamming User Interfaces

Malleable and organic user interfaces have the potential to enable radically new forms of interactions and expressiveness through flexible, free-form and computationally controlled shapes and displays. Our work specifically focuses on particle jamming as a simple, effective method for flexible, shape-changing user interfaces where programmatic control of material stiffness enables haptic feedback, deformation, tunable affordances and control gain. We introduce a compact, low-power pneumatic jamming system suitable for mobile devices, and a new hydraulic-based technique with fast, silent actuation and optical shape sensing. We enable jamming structures to sense input and function as interaction devices through two contributed methods for high-resolution shape sensing using: 1) index-matched particles and fluids, and 2) capacitive and electric field sensing. We explore the design space of malleable and organic user interfaces enabled by jamming through four motivational prototypes that highlight jamming’s potential in HCI, including applications for tabletops, tablets and for portable shape-changing mobile devices. 

Credits: Tangible Media Group 2012

Jamming User Interfaces: Programmable Particle Stiffness and Sensing for Malleable and Shape-Changing Devices from Alex Olwal on Vimeo.


Sean Follmer, Daniel Leithinger, Alex Olwal, Nadia Cheng, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2012. Jamming user interfaces: programmable particle stiffness and sensing for malleable and shape-changing devices. In Proceedings of the 25th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology(UIST ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 519-528. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2380116.2380181

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